Fair trade marketing - an ethical edge
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CTA. 2002. Fair trade marketing - an ethical edge. Rural Radio Resource Pack 02/2. Wageningen, The Netherlands: CTA.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/57150
Honey Care Africa is a company based in Kenya which in the last two years has won numerous awards for its development work with small-scale, rural beekeepers. The company?s marketing strategy has focussed on having a good quality, attractively labelled product, but it is also aware that being a ?Fair Trade? producer also helps to attract customers.
Fair trade marketing - an ethical edge CUE: Fair Trade is an innovation in marketing that has been particularly important for small-scale producers. Companies that follow ?Fair trade? principles give their products an ethical value by always paying producers a fair price for their goods. This has proved a successful marketing strategy as increasing numbers of consumers, particularly in wealthier countries, are choosing fair trade products, even when these are more expensive than other brands. But what about selling fair trade goods in Africa? Are local consumers ready to pay more for a fairly produced commodity? In this next report, Eric Kadenge talks to Farouk Jiwa of Honey Care Africa, a company that for two years has been developing small-scale bee-keeping in Kenya. Farouk explains why Honey Care decided to get into honey production, and how the company is trying to persuade Kenyans to pay more for its ethical honey. IN: ?We came into the market ? OUT: ? right across the country. DUR?N 4?57? BACK ANNOUNCEMENT: Farouk Jiwa of Honey Care Africa, on the importance of having a quality product for successful marketing. Transcript Jiwa We came into the market primarily because we realised there was a vacuum that existed, the way bee-keeping was being done in Kenya, there was really no progress being made. We?ve developed something called the Langstroth beehive, and have found innovative mechanisms through which farmers can get access to these beehives quickly, under a credit facility or a loan facility through NGOs. Honey Care then provides training wherever possible, and most importantly, Honey Care provides a guaranteed market for the farmers. We go out to the farmers farms, we collect the honey on the spot, and the cash payments are made directly to the farmers on the day of collection of the honey. And that has been probably the most important incentive that Honey Care can provide towards the development of a bee-keeping sector in this country. Kadenge And I?m curious to know what kind of people constitute your farmers, what is their economic status in Kenya for example? Jiwa Our farmers tend to be smallholder farmers, with average plot size of between five acres to a quarter of an acre. They are almost about 43% women now, because we have done a very important thing in terms of introducing bee-keeping to women. We have taken the hives off the trees, brought them down to eye-level, and ensured that women can get involved in bee-keeping as well. Kadenge So once you have the honey from the farmer, what then do you do with it? Jiwa We then bring the honey down to Nairobi where it is processed in our factory. We then work on pasteurising the honey, incubating the honey, and it is eventually bottled. The honey then goes out under the Honey Care Africa brand name. We have four different flavours of honey, depending on the area that the honey comes from. There is ?Highland Blend?, ?African Blossom?, ?Acacia? and ?Wild Comb? honey. These then go out into the market locally. They are supplied to most of the hotels, the airlines and various supermarkets as well. Kadenge Now given that we have quite a number of other people that produce honey, what are some of the marketing strategies that you use to make sure that you have an edge over them? Jiwa I think the most important thing we have been able to do is establish ourselves as being a Fair Trade organisation. We do practise fair trade all the way through, during the entire process chain of honey production, which begins from the manufacture of the beehives, right up to the marketing of the honey. We believe in paying a fair price, or a fair wage for whoever is involved in the entire process. If there is a jar of honey that has been produced by a private farmer at 150 shillings, and a jar of honey that has been produced by a community group or a women?s group in a particular area, selling at 200 shillings, we are trying to convince the Kenyan market that it is worthwhile moving more towards supporting community projects, and paying an extra premium. I think in addition to that it is a question of having a consistent quality, having a high quality product that is available throughout the year. If you don?t have a good product, no matter how you package it, it is not going to work. And I would say the third thing we have done as far as marketing is concerned is coming up with more innovative packaging. We?ve done a very good job on our labels, they are hand painted labels, they reflect the various vegetation and species of trees that we have in this country, and that adds to the exotic value of our honey in many ways as well. Kadenge And given that you have to work with farmers that come from various parts of the country, how do you go about meeting the transport requirement for that? Jiwa The most important thing is you have to make the farmers organise in economically viable clusters, so it?s financially viable, economically viable to go out and collect the honey from a group of farmers rather than a scattered number of people. It is more to do with logistics and organisation in the field, that makes the transportation cost a lot easier to bear. Kadenge And how much is the honey consumption in Kenya, and do you see this consumption increasing with time? Jiwa The consumption is actually quite low for a country like Kenya, especially given the historical background of most of the communities, and the central role that honey has played in various communities and traditions, customs, marriage, initiation, and a whole bunch of other things as well. The main reason for the consumption to be as low as it has been, has been primarily because of the unavailability of high quality Kenyan honey which is of a regularised standard available consistently throughout the year. Consumption of honey primarily has been in its raw form, as honey only. There is a lot of potential for combining honey with other products for example as well. Whether it is going to be honey in cereals, honey in barbecue sauce, whatever it may be. There are a lot of combinations that have not been explored to their fullest, and I think the consumption will definitely increase in the next three to five years. Kadenge So these are some of the marketing strategies that you intend to use in the coming years? Jiwa More than anything else, the first platform of our marketing strategy would be to convince people that there is finally an option to the poor quality honey that they have normally seen out here in the market. There is finally a home-grown answer to probably one of the most important food products in terms of a social value and a historical value for our country. The idea would be to convince them that we do now have high quality honey that is available to them at affordable prices right across the country. End of track.